Are You Living Devoted or Distracted?

It’s the middle of February and I’m still working my Read through the Bible in a Year plan. I just entered Leviticus which, in all honesty, is usually when I tap out. This time, however, something in the very first chapter caught my attention.

The beginning of Leviticus is all about the offerings – and God was very specific as to how it should be done.

Is your burnt offering a sheep or a goat?

It must be a male. Without blemish. It must be killed on the north side of the altar. The blood must be thrown against the sides of the altar. It must be cut into pieces with the head and the fat placed on the fire. But the entrails and the legs? Those get washed with water.

Then, if your offering is a bird? Well, there’s a whole different set of instructions for that.

Fence

I have to tell you. I have made corn casserole approximately 12, 657 times and I still have to pull the recipe out when I make it. There are only four ingredients. I just can’t remember the details. Not to mention, I will most likely stop several times to settle an argument, get somebody a snack, change a diaper and, in some instances, completely forget that I was making a corn casserole to begin with.

Can you imagine someone like me trying to make the offering exactly as required? The north side of the altar alone would throw me for a loop. The word north means nothing to me. I need a landmark, people.

These people had to be completely devoted to what they were doing. There was no room for distractions. You get caught up in someone’s conversation or what kind of offering someone else is making and there would be dire consequences. Talk to Uzzah about what happens when you attempt to go about God’s business while distracted (2 Samuel 6:6-7.) Oh, wait. You can’t ask him because God struck him dead!

Whatever we do, we are to do it as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23.) We are to live devoted lives and not distracted ones. Just ask my children what happens when mama is distracted while making their breakfast. They will tell you that cumin toast is totally not the same thing as cinnamon toast.

Think about the things you’ve done this week or have planned for the days ahead. Do they serve to strengthen your devotion to Christ or are they distractions?

You are loved. ❤

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

13226801_1107791052625520_6856197906297404978_nI found myself sitting in the bathroom eating a candy bar last night. I had the shower running to give the illusion that I was doing something productive. I know that some of you just cringed at the thought of eating in the bathroom. I regret to inform you I just don’t care about stuff like that. I also don’t care if the McRib is made out of real meat or if my children are wearing matching socks. I do, however, care that Toby from This is Us is not really overweight. I feel lied to now that I know he’s wearing a “fat suit.”

I just choose to not get worked up over certain issues. As I sat there alone with my Almond Joy, I was thinking about a conversation we had in Sunday School on the humility of Christ. How was He able to not get worked up all the time and to maintain humility when the people treated Him so poorly? Here’s what I think. Jesus was completely confident in who He was as God and in His ability to do what God had sent Him to do. It didn’t matter if the people mocked, questioned or refused to believe. He knew He was God.

People who are confident in who God created them to be and the task God has given them to do can be humble. They don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room. They don’t feel the need to air all of their thoughts on all the things. Humble people hear other people. They are not threatened by the opinions of others. So, when that mom sees your photo on Instagram and is all, “I can’t believe she doesn’t

roses1have her child rear-facing; he’s only thirteen,” you can smile and move on with your life.

I’m about to tell you something that will set. you. free. You don’t have to attend every argument to which you’re invited. You can humbly decline the invitation when you are confident in your God-given mothering instincts and abilities. 

You can handle this mothering gig, my friends.

You are loved. ❤

 

 

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

  1. Have a heart that is humble.

  2. Have a faith that is firm.

  3. Be careful with criticism.

  4. Choose the Word over the world.

  5. Have a character that is kind.

  6. Let go of guilt.

  7. Embrace grace.

  8. Follow Christ – not the crowd.

  9. Be more concerned with authenticity than appearances.

  10. A side of yogurt makes any meal healthy.

 

The Ground is Level.

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There is an old hymn that says, “the ground is level at the foot of the cross.” No achievement can make us stand taller within the cross’ shadow and no failing can cause us to sink lower. We are all wretches in need of amazing grace.

We think it’s different. Sometimes, we want it to be different. We want there to be degrees of sin so that we can somehow feel better about our standing before a holy God. But you and I? We are not that different.

Motherhood is another of life’s equalizers. We look at one another and attempt to place one another in the appropriate group.

She’s into that all natural thing.

I heard she started planning the epidural before the stick was even finished turning blue. (That was me, by the way.)

Her kids are homeschooled/public schooled/private schooled.

She only wanted one kid.

Doesn’t she know about birth control? (This is also me. By my fourth pregnancy, my brother said, “Stacy, you really need a new hobby.”)

I don’t know why we insist on creating these imaginary divisions. The reality is that we have FAR MORE in common, y’all!

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Raise your hand if you have scooped poop out of the bathtub, picked a toddler’s nose because you could not handle the booger hanging out in there, changed a diaper on the hood of your car, caught vomit in your bare hand, changed wet bed sheets in the middle of the night, allowed a feverish child to sweat all over you, rocked a crying baby into the wee hours of the night, stayed up all night worried because your child was out with friends, wondered how you were going to pay for all the things, or cried with your child over his first broken heart.

I walked into a hospital room last week and met a mother whose son was just diagnosed with leukemia. In that moment, it didn’t matter one iota if she was a stay at home mom, a working mom, a work at home mom,  a single mom, a mom of one or a mom of many. I’ll be honest – I don’t know which category she would fall into and I couldn’t care less. I rubbed her back and I cried because, in that moment, my mama heart was breaking for her mama heart.

We need to be there for one another without labels, categories or preconceived notions. The ground is level, y’all. The ground is level. We’re all the same. We pray for our babies to be healthy, our bills to be paid and our coffee to have an appropriate amount of creamer. And, if anyone says you don’t need creamer, distance yourself from them because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

I’m praying for each of you this week. Seriously, if you read these words, consider yourself prayed for. And, if anyone needs me, I’m spending the next three days in Gatlinburg with our church’s senior adults and I am crazy excited. I may not come back home. 😉

You are loved. ❤

 

4 Ways to Kick Fear to the Curb

Someone once said that one of Satan’s greatest tricks is to make you believe that you are whatever you fear you are.

Do you fear being alone? The enemy is going to make you feel that you truly are alone.

Do you fear that you’re invisible? He’ll do everything he can to reinforce that feeling.

For many of us, one of our greatest fears is that we may be bad mothers. It always seems that someone else is doing it a whole lot better and scrapbooking the whole experience while carrying a monogrammed handbag.

I can’t be the only one that has been awake at night wondering what I could do tomorrow to undo all the mistakes I made today. {The best I’ve ever come up with, by the way, is caffeine and chocolate.It doesn’t undo anything but it sure makes a mama feel better.}

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Whatever it is that Satan is whispering in your ear, here is the only thing you really need to know. Satan is a liar. If the voice in your head speaks things that are death to your spirit, you can know that it is not of God. 

You’re not alone. You’re not invisible. You’re not a bad mother.

However, there are things in this world that cause little seeds of fear to plant themselves within our hearts. If we don’t deal with those seeds, they can become big problems which crowd the peace and joy right out of our spirits.

How should we respond when fear rears its ugly head? When we get that diagnosis? When there is more month than money? When friends walk away? When jobs are deleted? When hearts get broken and dreams get dashed?

We could lie.

Everything is fine.

I can handle it.

We could hide.

We could stay in our pajamas and binge-watch Parenthood on Netflix. We can skip church and cancel plans with friends.

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The enemy would love for us to lie and hide. The problem is that lying and hiding never take away the fear. It only covers it in shame. What should we do when we feel the anxiety creep in and the tension take over?

Let’s look at Genesis 32: 7-12. {Go ahead and read it; I’ll wait.}

In verse 7, we see that Jacob is greatly afraid. He’s not nervous or a little anxious. He isn’t uncomfortable. He is GREATLY AFRAID. Can you go there for a minute? Think of a time or situation that has had you feeling that  way.

Now, watch Jacob’s response.

4 WAYS TO KICK FEAR TO THE CURB

  1. Turn to God. “And Jacob said, ‘O God…” (Genesis 32:9.) What if our first response to fear was prayer?
  2. Acknowledge your place before God. “I am not worthy…” (Genesis 32:10.) What if we didn’t try to solve our own problems and, instead, realized that we were never meant to go it alone?
  3. Confess your fear. “I fear him…” (Genesis 32:11.) What if we didn’t play the I’m-okay-you’re-okay game?
  4. Remember God’s promise. “But you said…” (Genesis 32:12.) What if we stopped focusing on our fears and, instead, pondered God’s promises?

Remember, sweet friends, that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18.)

You are loved (with a perfect love.) ❤

How to Pray Scripture Over Your People

The world is so complicated that, at times, it’s hard to know what to pray. In those moments, learn to pray Scripture. I have several that I use as general guidelines when I pray over my family – certain ones for my children and others for my husband.

This is one that I pray over my babies because it covers many things that we, as parents, tend to want for them: God’s presence, provision, and protection.

scripture doodle

Psalm 20 (A Mama’s Paraphrase)

Child, may the Lord be quick to answer you when you are struggling, hurting or lonely. May the name of God protect you when you aren’t even aware that you need protection.

May He send you help when the enemy seeks to do you harm and may His angels support you when you’re too weak to stand.

May He remember all your acts of obedience and regard with favor your pleas for forgiveness.

May He grant your heart’s deepest desires and give you success wherever He leads you.

Your mama will shout for joy over your salvation and I will praise God for what He has done in your life.

My child, God knows how to protect what is His. You be faithful to listen because your God is faithful to speak. There is no hole so deep, no mistake so grave that His mighty right hand can not save you.

Some people around you will place their trust in money, power, government, popularity, or prestige. Not us, dear one. Our trust is in the name of the Lord our God and nothing or no one else.

You watch because, in the end, they will all collapse and fall while God’s people rise and stand tall.

O, Lord , save my children and answer them when they call.

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You are loved.